Kamal Haasan: Nothing will happen by returning awards

Hyderabad: Disapproving those returning their awards to protest against growing intolerance, superstar Kamal Haasan today said giving back the awards is not a solution to the problem as there are other ways to draw attention.

Kamal Haasan
Kamal Haasan

A number of intellectuals including filmmakers, scientists, writers and historians have returned their awards to protest against the 'climate of intolerance' in the country.

Filmmakers who have returned their awards include names like director Dibakar Banerjee, documentary filmmakers Anand Pathwardhan and Nishtha Jain among others.

"Nothing will happen by returning the awards. You will insult the government or the people who gave you the award with love. That will bring attention to it but there are many more ways," said the 60-year-old actor.

"They are talented people. Just one article by them will bring more attention than returning the awards. They should keep the awards, make us proud and continue to fight any government that is not tolerant enough," he added.

When asked whether Haasan, who is in the city to promote his upcoming film "Thoonga Vanam", would ask the filmmakers to not give back the awards, the actor said he was not sure it will make any difference.

"'Mere bolne se thodi vo sunenge' (My appeal won't make a difference). We hope they don't get too angry. It is on their part also necessary to be a little more tolerant. Tolerance is give and take. I am not criticising any party but this is nothing new to India. It will surmount this also, as it has done before," he said.

Haasan said the debate on intolerance has been going on since 1947 and it should be debated "every five years". "You have taken debate in your hand but this intolerance is since 1947. That's why we became two nations. India and Pakistan could have been together and it would have been a fantastic and huge country and we would have taken on China in commerce and everything. This intolerance is what divided the nation then, it should not divide the nation again." He said he is tolerant of all religions despite being a non-religious person himself.

"I am not the one for intolerance. I tolerate religions though I am not religious. I am not a religious man but I will never say no to any religion and their practices. I won't do it, that's my right," he said. When asked whether returning the awards was politically motivated, Haasan said everything is politics.

"All are politics... It was all politicians and they were also sensible politicians like Gandhiji, Nehruji. I am sure there are many more now also, irrespective of party. I love my nation. Any party that does good to the nation, I will be useful to it and that's how I vote. We should keep voting with conscience."

Haasan had raised eyebrows by meeting Maharashtra NavNirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray recently in Mumbai and when asked about it he said, "He is a known person. I went to see a relative and his house is next door. So, I met him. I meet all kinds of people."

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